VIDEO: Premature cheetah cubs under care of Cincinnati Zoo

Newborn cheetah cubs at the Cincinnati Zoo

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Five newborn cheetah cubs are receiving critical care in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's Nursery after veterinarians performed a rare C-section on five-year-old mother "Willow" last week.

The cubs, three boys and two girls, were born at the Zoo's regional cheetah breeding facility in Clermont County on March 8.

They were moved to the Cincinnati Zoo Nursery immediately where there's been around-the-clock care with bottle feeding every three hours during the past ten days, according to zoo officials.

Zoo staff are working put some weight on the premature cubs. Important benchmarks for survival of the cubs are the first week and month of life.

The cubs were born under difficult circumstances, according Dr. Campbell, Director of Animal Health at the Cincinnati Zoo.

"Their immune systems are not developed very well at all at this time so they are unable to actively ward off infections," said Campbell. "We are doing all we can to keep them healthy and strong, but it will be a challenge for these cubs moving forward."

Campbell said the C-section procedure went well and mom is recovering.

The cubs will remain in the Nursery for at least 8-12 weeks.  Visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the cubs through the Nursery windows, but much of their critical care will take place behind the scenes

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